Recently The Economist did an interview with the President of Disney Animation.
If I were to guess, I'd say that most of the people reading this blog couldn't tell you who that is.
Don't feel bad.
His name is Ed Catmull. While you may not have known his name, you know his work since he's part of the original PIXAR team which means he's been a part of every PIXAR film ever made.
The interview, which I think is around 20 minutes long or so, was sent to me via facebook from John Wittig and can be viewed in it's entirety by clicking here.
Now, Ed's a little dry but a total genius. If you stick with it and have a lens for leadership you will come away with at least 3 or 4 gems that could change the way you look at your company, organization, etc.
Here are two quotes that really blew me away:
1. "In a creative culture it's better to fix problems then try and prevent them. If you try and prevent error you screw things up. And the natural tendency for managers is to try and prevent error and over plan things."
I mostly like that quote because I already agreed with it. So sue me.
2. "There is this illusion that this person is creative and has all this stuff, well the fact is there are literally thousands of ideas involved in putting something like [a film] together. And the notion of ideas as this singular thing is a fundamental flaw."
This quote, on the other hand, struck me in a new way that I had never thought of before. This idea has been especially true for me with the creation of Sparks. The initial idea of Sparks incubated through various forms and experiments for over a year. As it evolved (and I'm pretty sure it's nowhere near being done evolving before it dies sometime in the future) there have been literally dozens of ideas from dozens of people that came along and tweaked, fixed and enhanced the original series of ideas.
So sparks aren't an idea. They're a collection of ideas from many different people.
The iPad isn't an idea. It's a collection of ideas from a collection of people.
Ed ends this sentiment by stating that a leader's job is to draw out of a team the thousand ideas you're all going to need in order to be successful.
Enjoy the interview.
Posted on Wed, April 21, 2010